Rarely can a compilation of Taito's Coin-op Hits size (8 games) have contained such a solid line up. I bought this compilation as soon as it came out from Imagine, and even at £14.99 it represented superb value for money. I only had one of the games already (Bubble Bobble) and all of them - even those not so critically acclaimed - were at the very least eminently playable.
A scrolling action-adventure, Rastan was a Barbarian-esque warrior scrapping his way through various fantastical landscapes. The animation was great (including Rastan's sweeping sword) and the game was huge fun - if a little on the tough side.
Legend of Kage
I loved this platform fighter and could never understand why it got such a mediocre review in Crash Magazine. It worked very smoothly with your ninja leaping between platforms and offing the bad guys with panache. An underrated game.
One of the famous (or infamous, if you prefer) "dolly mixture" games that included Rainbow Islands and The New Zealand Story, the story of the two cute dragons Bub and Bob enrapt me back then and I still enjoy having a go every now and then. The simplicity of the arcade original meant the Spectrum version was more or less the same barring a few sound and graphic tweaks and was a deserved Crash Smash.
The amount of days/weeks/months lost to Flying Shark! This is undoubtably my favourite shooter on the Spectrum - fast paced, well balanced and frantic. Flying Shark is one of the finest Spectrum shoot 'em ups and should not be missed.
When Crash Magazine awarded this arcade conversion a paltry 59%, tongues wagged. Sinclair User and Your Sinclair bestowed greater scores to Imagine's effort and for once they were the more accurate. The concept by Taito was original - basically breakout with a few whistles and bells - and highly addictive - a trait repeated on the Spectrum conversion.
Arkanoid 2 Revenge of Doh
Crash didn't make the same mistake twice and awarded Arkanoid's sequel an impressive 80%. Many people prefer Revenge of Doh, but I always found it to be "more of the same", and after the raft of clones (Batty, Krakout, etc) that had inevitably followed the original, the idea was starting to wear thin. Nevertheless, Revenge of Doh is a quality, polished game.
The second shoot 'em up on this compilation is it's weakest point but given the quality of the others, that isn't necessarily a criticsm. Slap Fight infamously suffered from the "invisible bullet" syndrome, yet it was a competent enough blaster to keep you occupied.
And last, but very not least, comes one of the finest BEU's on the Spectrum, Renegade. Arguably superior to the arcade original thanks to the re-jigged controls, Renegade took some time to get into, but once you did, it was huge fun. The crunching sound effects and sharp sprites helped with the gameplay to make Renegade an instant classic.